If You Aren't Making Mistakes, You're Doing It Wrong

There’s a lot of beauty to be found in the mistakes we make, because they’re simply a part of growing – probably the most important part.

There’s also a lot of shame attached to making mistakes, but no one who ever did anything meaningful or created something amazing got it perfect the first time around.

As leaders, one of our greatest responsibilities is to remind ourselves and those around us of the simple truth that if we aren’t making mistakes then we probably aren’t moving forward. We can’t create better ways of doing things if we’re always doing things right.

Let’s stop and think about that for a second.

If we don’t try to do things differently, we’re held back from figuring out which ways don’t work in the process. So, how will we know whether there’s a better way to achieve more?

We won’t.

Queue the value of decisions that may not have been thought through long enough, the over (and under) projections that may have led us astray, and of course, where would be without those leaps of faith and second chances? Our missteps actually guide us down the path to success. They’re still a part of the journey, even if we wish they weren’t in the moment, because we wouldn’t be motivated to try new things if we saw no room for improvement and that’s the only thing stagnation has to offer – settling for good instead of striving for great.

To put it simply, we would stop moving. More importantly, we would stop growing. We would be staring at the same goals and meeting them using the same methods. And if you ask me, that’s the opposite of growth.

“The only sure way to avoid making mistakes is to have no new ideas.”
– Albert Einstein

Here are three things I always end up taking away from the mistakes I’ve made.

I’ve discovered more about who I truly am. When you join a family business at a young age, you learn its ins and outs early on. This has been an amazing opportunity for me, because while my dad built this company from the ground up, I’ve had the chance watch it grow first hand. But that kind of inside track often puts us at risk of believing we’ve got enough experience to be doing it all right. Making mistakes has actually been a way for me to learn more about myself. Most importantly, I’ve learned a lot about the type of leader I want to be, what my limits are, what my strengths and capabilities are and why I should feel comfortable relying on the amazing people around me.

I continue to remember how important it is to forgive. One of the most important lessons we learn from making mistakes is the role forgiveness plays in our ability to be happy and move forward. And that starts with forgiving ourselves. Every mistake I’ve made has led me to a deeper understanding of how to be more compassionate and tolerant – not only with others but also with myself. When you make mistakes, you’ll learn that beating yourself up over them is a waste of your time and energy. I’ve also learned that I’m not perfect and that perfection doesn’t really exist – but our intention of doing our very best does.

I fear less. Whether I’ve failed miserably at something, made the wrong call or took the liberty of making a big decision that wasn’t the right one, every mistake I’ve made has helped me let go of fear. The moment we decide to take a big leap, knowing that we may be wrong, we’re looking uncertainty in the face and saying,I’m going to do this anyway.And that takes guts. It also turns us into the people we were meant to become – much more aware, much smarter, and far less afraid. Not making mistakes? That’sprobably the biggest mistake anyone of us could have made, because avoiding the chance that you may be wrong can only do one thing for certain, and that’s taking experience awayfrom us which hinders our ability to progress.

Tony Gareri

CEO & Culture Enthusiast

Drawing from firsthand experiences, Tony addresses how a culture evolution can lead to improved business results and happier work environments.

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